The Farmer gets a wife: hidden labour in farming households

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Farming is a critical sector within rural economies (Phelan and Sharpley, 2012) but is uncertain and risky for those reliant upon it (Turner et al, 2003). The majority of UK farms are small family farms (Morell and Brandth, 2007) where a considerable share of household income is derived from farming, labour is provided by the family and the family lives on the farm (Calus and Van Huylenbroeck, 2010) compounding the impact of economic uncertainty. Previous research has focused on the Farmer as the “person responsible for the administration of the business” (Clark, 2009:219) when seeking to understanding work undertaken in these enterprises and the skills necessary for success. This paper seeks to broaden our understanding of farm work by investigating the hidden enabling work undertaken by the wider farming household. Using case-study methodology (Yin, 2009) analysis is based on observations and interviews with members of 8 households within the Scottish farming community. Extending extant work exploring the gendered nature of farming (Riley, 2009) it finds that farmers’ spouses and children play important roles in the diversified businesses that characterise contemporary farming. The unmeasured and unpaid nature of the farming household’s work allows farms to retain financial viability which external paid labour would destroy. It finds farmers’ spouses providing labour of high economic value and displaying skills such as entrepreneurial drive, opportunity identification and business management which are instrumental to successful business outcomes in contemporary family farm businesses.

Conference

ConferenceBritish Sociological Association Annual Conference 2014
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityGlasgow
Period15/04/1517/04/15
Internet address

Fingerprint

wife
farm
farmer
labor
spouse
person responsible
business management
economic value
role play
household income
uncertainty
economy
methodology
interview
community
economics

Keywords

  • labour
  • rural economy
  • unpaid work

Cite this

Tonner, A., & Wilson, J. (2015). The Farmer gets a wife: hidden labour in farming households. Paper presented at British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2014, Glasgow, United Kingdom.
Tonner, Andrea ; Wilson, Juliette. / The Farmer gets a wife : hidden labour in farming households. Paper presented at British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2014, Glasgow, United Kingdom.1 p.
@conference{d926ae4e17cb4bd79d6a28bfd2ec4cbc,
title = "The Farmer gets a wife: hidden labour in farming households",
abstract = "Farming is a critical sector within rural economies (Phelan and Sharpley, 2012) but is uncertain and risky for those reliant upon it (Turner et al, 2003). The majority of UK farms are small family farms (Morell and Brandth, 2007) where a considerable share of household income is derived from farming, labour is provided by the family and the family lives on the farm (Calus and Van Huylenbroeck, 2010) compounding the impact of economic uncertainty. Previous research has focused on the Farmer as the “person responsible for the administration of the business” (Clark, 2009:219) when seeking to understanding work undertaken in these enterprises and the skills necessary for success. This paper seeks to broaden our understanding of farm work by investigating the hidden enabling work undertaken by the wider farming household. Using case-study methodology (Yin, 2009) analysis is based on observations and interviews with members of 8 households within the Scottish farming community. Extending extant work exploring the gendered nature of farming (Riley, 2009) it finds that farmers’ spouses and children play important roles in the diversified businesses that characterise contemporary farming. The unmeasured and unpaid nature of the farming household’s work allows farms to retain financial viability which external paid labour would destroy. It finds farmers’ spouses providing labour of high economic value and displaying skills such as entrepreneurial drive, opportunity identification and business management which are instrumental to successful business outcomes in contemporary family farm businesses.",
keywords = "labour, rural economy, unpaid work",
author = "Andrea Tonner and Juliette Wilson",
year = "2015",
month = "4",
day = "15",
language = "English",
note = "British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2014 ; Conference date: 15-04-2015 Through 17-04-2015",
url = "http://www.britsoc.co.uk/events/bsa-annual-conference.aspx",

}

Tonner, A & Wilson, J 2015, 'The Farmer gets a wife: hidden labour in farming households' Paper presented at British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2014, Glasgow, United Kingdom, 15/04/15 - 17/04/15, .

The Farmer gets a wife : hidden labour in farming households. / Tonner, Andrea; Wilson, Juliette.

2015. Paper presented at British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2014, Glasgow, United Kingdom.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

TY - CONF

T1 - The Farmer gets a wife

T2 - hidden labour in farming households

AU - Tonner, Andrea

AU - Wilson, Juliette

PY - 2015/4/15

Y1 - 2015/4/15

N2 - Farming is a critical sector within rural economies (Phelan and Sharpley, 2012) but is uncertain and risky for those reliant upon it (Turner et al, 2003). The majority of UK farms are small family farms (Morell and Brandth, 2007) where a considerable share of household income is derived from farming, labour is provided by the family and the family lives on the farm (Calus and Van Huylenbroeck, 2010) compounding the impact of economic uncertainty. Previous research has focused on the Farmer as the “person responsible for the administration of the business” (Clark, 2009:219) when seeking to understanding work undertaken in these enterprises and the skills necessary for success. This paper seeks to broaden our understanding of farm work by investigating the hidden enabling work undertaken by the wider farming household. Using case-study methodology (Yin, 2009) analysis is based on observations and interviews with members of 8 households within the Scottish farming community. Extending extant work exploring the gendered nature of farming (Riley, 2009) it finds that farmers’ spouses and children play important roles in the diversified businesses that characterise contemporary farming. The unmeasured and unpaid nature of the farming household’s work allows farms to retain financial viability which external paid labour would destroy. It finds farmers’ spouses providing labour of high economic value and displaying skills such as entrepreneurial drive, opportunity identification and business management which are instrumental to successful business outcomes in contemporary family farm businesses.

AB - Farming is a critical sector within rural economies (Phelan and Sharpley, 2012) but is uncertain and risky for those reliant upon it (Turner et al, 2003). The majority of UK farms are small family farms (Morell and Brandth, 2007) where a considerable share of household income is derived from farming, labour is provided by the family and the family lives on the farm (Calus and Van Huylenbroeck, 2010) compounding the impact of economic uncertainty. Previous research has focused on the Farmer as the “person responsible for the administration of the business” (Clark, 2009:219) when seeking to understanding work undertaken in these enterprises and the skills necessary for success. This paper seeks to broaden our understanding of farm work by investigating the hidden enabling work undertaken by the wider farming household. Using case-study methodology (Yin, 2009) analysis is based on observations and interviews with members of 8 households within the Scottish farming community. Extending extant work exploring the gendered nature of farming (Riley, 2009) it finds that farmers’ spouses and children play important roles in the diversified businesses that characterise contemporary farming. The unmeasured and unpaid nature of the farming household’s work allows farms to retain financial viability which external paid labour would destroy. It finds farmers’ spouses providing labour of high economic value and displaying skills such as entrepreneurial drive, opportunity identification and business management which are instrumental to successful business outcomes in contemporary family farm businesses.

KW - labour

KW - rural economy

KW - unpaid work

UR - http://www.britsoc.co.uk/events/bsa-annual-conference.aspx

M3 - Paper

ER -

Tonner A, Wilson J. The Farmer gets a wife: hidden labour in farming households. 2015. Paper presented at British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2014, Glasgow, United Kingdom.